I have struggled throughout my civil engineering PhD. My topic was away from the realm of my advisor's expertise, and as a result my research can be considered as an independent endeavor. She (advisor) was always there to guide the direction, but she didn't give any technical input to my research.
In addition, my group colleagues, who worked in topics related to my advisor's expertise, published several publications in prestigious journals (IF > 10). While, I struggled to get one published in a 2 impact factor journey. This caused a lot of anxiety during my first 3 years of PhD.
On top of this, my advisor did not proactively correct my manuscripts I had submitted her. So, lot of my manuscripts are pending her consideration. This also affected my mental peace.
Being in final year, I started looking for postdoctoral positions since the beginning of the year. Applied to many, but was rejected. My advisor said to me the other day that if I don't get a postdoctoral offer, I can stay in my current lab for next 6-8 months and search for positions.
I am all burned out and having it difficult to be optimistic about my future. I am thinking of taking some time off (2-3 months off) (I have some savings to pull that off) after my PhD to gather my composure, work on my programming skills, and then join my current lab as a stop gap while searching for positions. I am already 30 years of age and have been a student throughout.
Will it be a good idea to take 3 months off after PhD defense to improve my skillset and work on my mental wellbeing? No, I have not been to any mental health counselor.